Psychiatric Times has a fascinating article on people who hoard animals – a type of compulsive hoarding.
The report is from the The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium – an professional association of researchers and clinicians who aim to better understand the condition.
A recent news report describes the sort of behaviour the association is aiming to explain:
A few years back the focus was on Marilyn Barletta, Petaluma’s so-called ‘cat woman’ who was found to have been keeping 196 cats in her home. In the past week, also in Petaluma, nearly 1,000 rats were discovered in filthy conditions in the home of Roger Dier.
And Friday, in South San Francisco, a man with a soft spot for bunnies was reported to the local humane society. When animal welfare workers arrived at his home, they discovered 80 rabbits chewing on day-old bagels and cauliflower.
The Psychiatric Times article discusses the current explanations for animal hoarding, which are a wide and varied list.
They include the idea that animal hoarders have delusional beliefs about special abilities to communicate with animals, that hoarding is an early sign of dementia, that animals may be collected for sexual gratification, that the condition may be a form of addiction and that hoarding is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Needless to say, the actual behaviour may be motivated by a wide range of factors, and one theory is not meant to explain everyone who hoards animals.
Link to article ‘People Who Hoard Animals’ (via World of Psychology).
Link to The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium webpage.